Stratton to Rangeley

June 30 Mile 196.6

What a day. I did not get a good nights sleep last night; I shared a bunk with a restless NOBO hiker (fortunately I was on the bottom bunk) whose pack was so incredibly stinky and right next to my bed. I had moved it away, but he moved it back and I was not happy about it. Anyway, there were six of us all together and one hiker had not even showered. Ugh! I gotta say, in my experience female hikers are way more mindful of that sort of thing. I’ve never come across a female hiker who would not shower at a place where showers were available. And granted, many men I know are mindful of being stinky and shower when they can. The Unshowered One also had to get up at 3:45 to catch a ride home. I got up early and had breakfast and coffee and basically waited to get a ride back to the trail, which didn’t happen until 8am. Late start. Right of the bat the trail climbed up and my pack was heavy and uncomfortable. I’ve been having issues with my pack for some time now and today I had had enough. I’ll be getting my old pack in about 100 miles, and I’ll send this pack home. I like it but it is just not the right pack for this kind of hike. If I was ultralight and always had a pack weight of 18lbs I’d be set. With food, water and fuel my pack is about 25lbs and that is too much weight for this pack to carry comfortably.

I was kind of upset about my pack and really struggling today and at one point Lays said, “Don’t worry, about your pack, cuz every little pack, is gonna be alright.” I laughed and did feel better about things. I also decided that I need to get some Bob Marley in my music library at the next town.

We stopped at this campsite on the banks of the Carrabasset river around 3pm; after the river is a huge climb and not much water or places to camp so we decided this would be best for today. Tomorrow will be a good day, just like today. Today was hard and I am grateful for the company of my friend. And I am grateful for the trail that shows me humility and reminds me that just when I think everything is going to fall apart, some simple thing brings everything back into perspective and I am back on track.

Right now I’m listening to This Must be the Place by The Talking Heads.

When I consider the depth and scope of this hike I feel like I am floating on the cusp of something incomprehensible. This is exactly where I want to be.

Indeed, this must be the place.

July 1 Mile 209.7

Made it to the Poplar Ridge shelter just before the rain started. Met Skyman and Smitty, who were already here, set up and ate dinner. Today was a tough day; 13 miles in 9.75 hours. Not bad. This is why I like to start early. I was hiking at 5:30am and right after I crossed the river I was climbing, literally. Bouldering uphill on wet granite. Fortunately it was only about a quarter mile stretch. Then it was just steep through wet overgrown trail.

Again, hard won miles but I am happy to be where I am. Lays hasn’t gotten here yet and there’s only one more space in the shelter and it is pouring rain. It’s going to be cozy in here tonight!

Later that evening . . .

It’s been raining harder than I have ever seen. All cozied up with everyone watching the creek rise and rise and rise. Amazing.

July 2 Mile 220.4 Rangeley, Maine

As I hiked over Saddleback mountain, which is a popular day hike here in this area, all anyone could talk about was the rain. Social hour on the trail. Skyman and I exchanged info and he says he’s coming to Astoria soon (he’s a medic from Switzerland, hiking NOBO) with his van for surfing, we’ll see!

Chatted with some locals in the grocery store about, you guessed it, the rain. One woman said she got 4 inches of rain in 90 minutes. I bought pop tarts, pepperoni, tortillas and Clif bars. Now I’m in the laundry mat washing all my clothes because I won’t get another change for 70 miles or so. Until New Hampshire. Wow! Almost done with Maine. And now I have to post this so I can charge my phone!

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